Record Wheat Harvest Creates Storage Crunch08/12/2016
Kansas has so much wheat, coops are searching for places to store it all. There just aren’t enough grain elevators.
With fall harvest set to start September 1 coops are working to get last year’s grain sold before this year’s comes in. The problem? They still need to make a profit doing it.
“Right now we’re emptying this pile, and then we’re going to fill it right back up with 2016 wheat,” said Adam Butler with the Mid Kansas Coop Association.
With the nearby grain elevators full, there’s a million bushels of wheat sitting in a pile on the ground at this coop near McPherson. And it’s just one of many such piles scattered across Kansas right now.
“To me it’s probably the biggest storage crunch we’ve seen in years,” said Ted Schultz, a market analyst with Team Marketing Alliance.
Schultz says the last three years have been good for wheat farmers, almost too good. They’ve had bumper crops in Kansas, across the U.S. and around the world.
“We had a really huge crop, probably the best crop in history as far as the yields,” Schultz said.
That’s led to too much wheat when not as many people are buying wheat. So coops have been holding off on selling last year’s crops. But with room running out they’re scrambling to find places to store the wheat, like on an old runway near Hutchinson.
“In the future we’re looking at the grain being worth more than it is right now,” said Butler.
While storing the grain on the ground is getting more common, it does come with extra problems. Workers have to make sure the wind and the rain doesn’t ruin the grain they still hope to sell.